Direct atomic-scale confirmation of three-phase storage mechanism in Li4Ti5 O12 anodes for room-temperature sodium-ion batteries

Yang Sun, Liang Zhao, Huilin Pan, Xia Lu, Lin Gu, Yong Sheng Hu, Hong Li, Michel Armand, Yuichi Ikuhara, Liquan Chen, Xuejie Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

566 Citations (Scopus)


Room-temperature sodium-ion batteries attract increasing attention for large-scale energy storage applications in renewable energy and smart grid. However, the development of suitable anode materials remains a challenging issue. Here we demonstrate that the spinel Li4 Ti5 O 12, well-known as a 'zero-strain' anode for lithium-ion batteries, can also store sodium, displaying an average storage voltage of 0.91 V. With an appropriate binder, the Li4Ti5 O12 electrode delivers a reversible capacity of 155 mAh g -1 and presents the best cyclability among all reported oxide-based anode materials. Density functional theory calculations predict a three-phase separation mechanism, 2Li4 Ti 5 O 12+6Na + +6e - â†"Li7Ti5 O12 +Na 6 LiTi 5 O 12, which has been confirmed through in situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction and advanced scanning transmission electron microscope imaging techniques. The three-phase separation reaction has never been seen in any insertion electrode materials for lithium- or sodium-ion batteries. Furthermore, interfacial structure is clearly resolved at an atomic scale in electrochemically sodiated Li4Ti5 O12 for the first time via the advanced electron microscopy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1870
JournalNature communications
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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